By Vanessa Fleming, Summersalt Yoga teacher
Yoga and surf are not so separate from each other. Both are about being in the present, taking advantage of what is right here, and right now. The moment will pass and you don’t get that moment back.
In yoga and surfing, there is no time to think beyond the present moment. The moment the thoughts start to cloud your intent, you lose your focus. If you can stay with that moment, breathe through it, witness each second and millisecond for what it is, you can see the waves coming toward you, literally on your board and figuratively on your mat.
Yoga in the physical sense can aide the development of the surfer’s body – a typical vinyasa is the flow of the surfer’s pop up. Pranayama practices of yoga assist in those moments on the board when adrenaline is high and the focus is strong, and you’re paddling and paddling for that wave.
Naturally, the two have evolved to create a blissful package, using each other as basis of learning and understanding of both practices.
Many times, I have gone to my mat and applied what I learned out on my surfboard into my practice. One foot down. Put a little shift in the weight on the front leg. Release a little to change the shape, and so forth.
I love nothing more than to watch my energy manifest and move as I am on my surfboard, but then how it translates on my mat. Conversely, I love taking the calm I learned from my mat and bringing it to my surfboard to keep clarity, drive and focus.
In addition to how the two complement each other in their similar natures, the slower, yin and restorative yoga after a surf session (or sessions!) increases the healing energy, which allows for faster recovery between days.
And really, the communal feeling between yogi surfers is an undeniable bond that shapes the most casual of encounters into lasting memories. Just another way that it’s all connected…through breath, presence, awareness, and love.
And if you aren’t sure just yet, here’s a little reasoning behind it:
“One of my favorite moment is when a surfer turns, pushes a little wake, then starts paddling like crazy. There are few other times in life with so a purpose.” – Jetty Girl Magazine photographer Chris Grant